Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday defended President Trump’s tweet that warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he has a “much bigger and more powerful” nuclear button, and said the president sent the message that “America will not be bullied.”
“In the message the President sent — in the wake of Kim Jong Un's New Year's message, where, while on the one hand he talked about wanting to reach out to his neighbors to the south, it's the same moment he spoke of having missiles that could reach the United States and having a button on his desk — President Trump made it clear: America will not be bullied, America will not be threatened, and that the United States of America has, by being clear, managed to marshal an unprecedented amount of economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea,” Pence said Wednesday during an interview with Voice of America.
In a New Year’s address Monday, Kim Jong Un boasted about the rogue regime’s nuclear weapons and signaled he is prepared to launch a nuclear strike.
“It’s not a mere threat but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office,” he said. “All of the mainland United States is within the range of our nuclear strike.”
Trump responded to Kim Jong Un’s message Tuesday and warned of the United States’ own nuclear capabilities.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,’” Trump tweeted. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
The president's tweet has earned him criticism from congressional Democrats and former Obama administration officials, who said Trump was negatively impacting international relations and poorly representing the United States on the international stage.